The goal was to come up with a fictitious company that solves a user problem of our choosing, research and validate our hypothesis, and create a clickable InVision prototype from our paper wireframes. I worked with one other person on this project. Without further ado...here is Tabster!
What Is Tabster?
Tabster is a website that converts your favorite songs on Spotify into guitar tabs & chords.
Features include: Autoscroll, lyrics, playlist integration, suggestions, and forums.
As a beginning guitarist I like guitar tabs because they are quick and easy. However, guitar tabs are hard to find and often incorrect. I wish there was an easy way to find good tabs for lesser known songs.
Note: If you are not familiar with guitar tabs here is a quick explanation: https://www.wikihow.com/Read-Guitar-Tabs
View the prototype here: https://invis.io/5GFJXBF9PUE
The prototype allows you to connect your account to Spotify, search or use a playlist, and view a tab.
How We Got Here
Our original idea was to have Tabster turn sheet music into guitar tabs. Survey and interview questions were based on discovering how much value that would bring to guitarists. Research revealed we needed to take Tabster in a much different direction.
1. Most guitarist understand tabs
2. Sheet music is more difficult to learn than guitar tabs
3. Guitarists are very passionate about music
We sent out a survey on Facebook using Google Forms to gather data. You can view our survey here. We ended up getting a wide range of respondents from brand new guitar players to people that have been playing 40+ years. To our delight, it seemed that most guitarists (61.1%) learned to play using guitar tabs. The other very significant method was taking lessons at 50% (results overlap because they could pick multiple answers).
It was clear that tabs are important for learning new songs on guitar as compared to sheet music which people rated themselves as not being as skilled at reading compared to guitar tabs.
People find new music to play in a wide range of ways but almost all of the methods involve the Internet.
Most surprising was how casual of a hobby playing guitar is as 72.2% of respondents claim that they only play casually.
People are interested in playing a wide range of genres including ones far outside the norm of pop culture.
Everything seemed to be going as predicted.
And Then The Interviews Changed Everything...
Our interviewees ranged from guitarists that just bought their first guitar three weeks beforehand to musicians that have been playing 5+ years.
The interviews further confirmed our survey results showing that our users are interested in playing casually and they aren’t necessarily trying to go on tour with Guns N Roses.
It was clear that playing guitar for them meant stress relief, relaxation, socialization, and keeping their minds sharp and creative.
However, the most significant finding from our interviews led us to confront our biggest failure...
Failure #1: Sheet music is not conducive to learning songs on guitar
Brad, our second interviewee, pointed out that sheet music can only display a small handful of music notes as compared to guitar tabs. Therefore, our idea of turning sheet music into guitar tabs would not be super useful for more complicated songs. This is something that neither of us knew beforehand. We had to change our business model. Luckily, the data we collected also showed that a significant number of
people use the Internet (especially Spotify) to learn new songs. After much brainstorming and many iterations, this led to the Tabster we have today.
Failure #2: Not all guitarists know what guitar tabs are
Gerardo, our first interviewee, did not know what guitar tabs were. He had just bought his guitar 3 weeks beforehand and was very inexperienced. I had to quickly switch gears on the spot during the interview to continue collecting information to figure out his pain points and if Tabster could be useful
for him. This finding led us to make sure Tabster was presented as unintimidating and simple to use even for a brand new guitarist.
Failure #3: Not all guitar players are necessarily passionate about playing
This one really threw us off course. We assumed guitar players would be so passionate about learning new songs that they would be willing to find sheet music and upload to it Tabster to learn the tabs. We quickly learned that our users would rather give up and find another song to play. This further solidified our decision to turn Tabster into an app that turns Spotify songs into guitar tabs instead of turning sheet music into guitar tabs.
To better empathize with our users, we created a persona based on our research findings.
We also created a storyboard to deeply understand our persona's motivation and frustrations as well as how Tabster can help them out.
To help us create our wireframes, we made a flowchart to make sure our users could use Tabster as easily as possible.
We gave a 15 minute presentation to our class on Tabster. My favorite part was playing guitar for the class to teach them guitar tabs. We ended up getting high praise for our "completely user focused" process.
The biggest thing I learned was how important research really is no matter how great you think your idea is. In the future, I think diving deeper into the initial ideation stage could have helped us form better questions for the surveys and interviews.
Future of Tabster
Tabster doesn't end with with just Spotify and guitars. The future holds many possibilities:
- Integration with other music streaming services such
as Apple Music, Pandora, and YouTube
- Other instruments: violins, ukulele, etc.
- Upload your own songs
We received many messages from classmates asking us to create this service because they would use it. Angel investors, inquire here!